Shamus Cooke: The banking oligarchy is so intertwined with the political and economic establishment that real regulatory change cannot happen until the system itself is transformed from below, by a powerful social movement. Pleading to politicians to fix so-called Casino Capitalism is increasingly naive.
Kwazi Nkrumah: For years the banks, real estate agents and investors in real estate securities on Wall Street were making money hand-over-fist. They did all this while pretending to break from their previous established history of gross discrimination and red-lining against the disproportionately non-white borrowers whose limited financial resources forced them into “sub-prime” status in the first place.
So far, here in the U.S., over 4 million homes have been foreclosed on since mid-2006. Because consumer spending drops drastically whenever housing values decline, the entire U.S. economy has been in a tail-spin throughout this period. Over 10 million jobs have been totally eliminated due to a dramatic drop in consumer sales and the resultant decline in production.
Why didn’t Obama deliver this speech when he spoke to bankers on Wall Street a few months ago? Better late than never, I suppose, and bankers are slightly more likely to pay attention to Volcker than to Obama as evidenced by the fact that several major US bank CEOs turned down the invitation to hear the president speak.